Managing Conflict: How Can a Dreamer and a Doer Live in Harmony?

Managing conflict between a dreamer and a doer, two very different personality types is possible. A dreamer is someone who likes to talk about their ideas and bounce those ideas off their partner. The doer is the one in the relationship who actually gets things done. They make phone calls, set a plan and do the follow through. This can be great if you both work well together and make the dreams come to fruition.

The problem can occur when the dreamer starts talking about their dreams, like remodeling the house, starting a small business, or something as simple as a new diet for the two of you. Let’s say the man is the dreamer and he has heard about a raw foods diet. It sounds amazing, so healthy and his friend is feeling so much more energy since being on it. So he starts sharing his ideas with his partner. The woman hears this and she knows that the actual implementation of this diet is going to fall on her shoulders. What she hears is, “I will have to shop differently and learn new recipes”. This is stressing her out.

She thinks about this and she wants to dream with him but she can’t take this on right now because of other things in her life. This is where conflict arises. What she may do is try to shut it down, she becomes the nay sayer. She points out the problems with the diet, that it is not realistic, too hard to really do, can’t eat in their favorite restaurant anymore. This frustrates the dreamer because he doesn’t want to hear that, he likes to dream.

This can also happen with your teenagers, they come to you with big ideas. Mom or Dad hear “unrealistic” and “it sounds like a lot of work”. So if you are the doer how should you handle this without having to squash the dream? There are various options but one of them is to be supportive, honest and put the ball back in the dreamers court. It is not your job to make all their dreams a reality. If you are too busy or just don’t want to put your energy there then say something like, “That’s a great idea, how can you make that happen?” If they put it back on you then you have to be honest and say “I want to support you but right now I don’t have the time or energy to make that happen”.

As a doer you assume it is your job to take care of it, that is your gift, making things happen, but it is not always helpful, especially for a teenager as they need to put the effort in. And the truth is some adult dreamers just like to share their ideas with you, they probably aren’t ready to make it happen either but the dreaming is what they do and it is fun for them.

Recognize that you are different in this, accept this part of who they are and don’t let it stress you out. Recognize that you can say no, you are not responsible for making all the ideas happen, if you just let them talk about it that actually might be all they need.

Written by Lisa Strong

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